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The Need for Vengeance
The Vortex, Outside of Time and Space
Not many could claim to be able to survive in the Vortex, a vast network that crisscrossed the various universes, dimensions and planes that made up existence. Fortunately, his vessel allowed him to hover endlessly in the void while he decided what to do next. Technically it was illegal to undertake any task in this area where time was irrelevant, though he had never been one of those characters known to follow the rules.
While the forces representing Good and Evil got most of the attention in the Universe, it was often forgotten that there were others with very different motivations lurking just beyond it boundaries. To these beings good and evil were irrelevant as they sought to fulfil their desires. Some enjoyed spreading chaos among the lesser beings and tormenting others for their own amusement, still more wanted little more than a Universe where there was order, and stagnation. Then there were those who merely deemed themselves to be beyond such petty concepts. Among these races the interference in the affairs of lesser beings was frowned upon. Using their magnificent powers for either good or evil was grounds for execution. Throughout history they had remained isolated, protecting only their self-interests and heartlessly ignoring the suffering of neighbouring worlds.
The Master was one of these superior beings, a dangerous renegade whose existence had been carefully hidden from his own people. His activities whether they were good deeds or foul acts, were motivated purely by his own greed. He didn’t want order like some members of his race though; he wanted power. Normally his plans were elaborate and often required him to ally himself with others. Over time he had learnt that there was always a chance that his plans would fail and that even his backup plans were not guaranteed to succeed.
This time was different. He had learnt from his past mistakes and having managed to once again steal himself a body; he had set multiple plans into motion that promised him the chance to rule above all others, as he believed he should. To that end he had sought out an alliance with a being that while more powerful than him, needed something only he could provide.
It was a scheme that crisscrossed through time and space; a cosmic treasure hunt for a prize only one of his genius could comprehend. This wasn’t about Earth or the Universe; when he had taken what he needed, he would move on, leaving the lesser beings to their petty wars. The search alone had taken a century, but it would be worth it when at last he could reap the rewards.
Minion’s Island, Gulf of Mexico.
He crawled along the rocky beach, the sharp stones tearing at his skin. He had been bested, but he would survive. His broken bones would heal and his weeping wounds would close. His mind, unhinged by his recent experience would remain a matter of debate for some time to come. He would rise again. His grasp on the living world was fragile, maintained by an overwhelming desire for vengeance and a bond he couldn’t begin to understand.
Around him a storm was raging, lightning flashed in the sky as Minion clawed his way back to his fortress, cursing that Silvo and Brasso had not thought to look for him. The rain caused him to slip and slide as he continued his painstakingly slow progress.
In the distance he saw something walking toward him, the lightning illuminating the silver highlights on the otherwise black costume. Minion reached towards the figure, which ignored his gesture and prodded him with its boot. A second prod and Minion rolled onto his back, staring up at the opportunist who was about to take advantage of his weakness.
“And so the mighty Minion had been reduced to crawling on his belly,” a voice chided. He didn’t sound American.
Lightning illuminated the sky yet it revealed very little to Minion. His unexpected visitor obviously liked black. The polymer used to make his knee high boots and the leather from which his duster style coat and gauntlet gloves had been prepared, at least had been coated to reflect some light. His hair was black, short and appeared to have been trimmed in a military style; from the short beard it was clear that he was not actively serving. His skin looked sickly despite the residual evidence of a tan. His eyes were a deep brown and shifted alertly as he casually placed his foot on the fallen construct’s body.
Minion struggled, determined to show who was boss, but following his confrontation with the Rangers he was too weak to do much besides flail under the other man’s foot.
“I’m starting to wonder why Dagsyxx even considered you for this task,” the man said as he pressed the tip of his boot into Minion’s side. He allowed his foot to move until he saw the desired wince, then he pressed harder.
Minion’s brain raced as he tried to make sense of what he was telling him, his mind trying unsuccessfully to grasp what was going on. He couldn’t concentrate though as the pain prevented his brilliant mind from concentrating on the matter at hand.
“I must admit that after all I had heard about you, Minion, I am very disappointed,” the man announced. “All that promise you must have shown combined with the power that Dagsyxx granted you, you should have been a god to these primitive apes.” His companion growled something and he raised his hands in a placating gesture. “No offence towards your wonderful tribe, of course.”
He must have seen the unmasked fury on Minion’s face following the criticism. It was clear that whatever the Rangers had done, Minion had suffered badly. That made things easier since it appeared that even simple words confused him. And there was another emotion that the construct was trying to hide, but which he knew all too well. It was the emotion that gave him power over others regardless of their physical superiority; it was a part of the reason why his companion obeyed him without question. Oh of all the emotions the lesser being of the Universe possessed, fear was by far his favourite.
“I have been instructed to remind you of your place Minion,” he said, bending down to place a device of some sort on the construct’s forehead. Then he pressed a button on the remote control he had rigged and watched as the device worked its wonders. “Your punishment is not mine to give, I’ll leave that to Dagsyxx. Enjoy your visit Minion.” He turned to his companion. “Watch him carefully. I shall return shortly.”
The ape thing grunted an acknowledgement as the man disappeared into a side room. The grinding of machinery could be heard as he departed for destinations unknown. Seconds later there was the sound of him returning. As with all his journeys, they took less than a minute, quickly returning before he was missed.
He stood before them enjoying the looks of annoyance on their faces. He assumed a nonchalant posture, knowing that it he needed to he could remove himself at a moment’s notice; battling such a powerful group of villains would have been suicide. He had not lived as long as he had without learning that words were far more powerful weapons than fists.
“How dare you enter this chamber without permission?” the supposed leader of the Alliance, Maxell snarled. Or at least he tried to snarl. The Master had stood face to face with far scarier things and from the look of boredom on Rita’s face; he was not the only one. He had seen and manipulated Maxell’s type before. The man was a petty bureaucrat who had won his position through political means and of course the odd bribe. He would pretend to be impartial until his backers required a decision, then his true allegiance would become apparent. That Maxell had survived so long was a sign that his pleas for support to all parties had brought him time without a challenge to a physical combat.
Under other circumstances, he would have flashed Maxell a charming smile and extended his hand, using all the charm he could muster to the surface to help build on the other man’s ego. But he needed the other man to work for him, not with him. He forced himself to remain impassive as Maxell threw a tantrum that any five-year-old human would have recognised.
“Seize him!” Maxell ordered.
The Master recognised the beasts that attacked him. The scientists on his world had studied them, dissected them, tested them extensively and published their findings in several tomes of detailed notes. While not an expert he could locate in his people’s archives a breakdown of every genetic marker inside the creature’s bodies. And when they had finished collecting the data which had allowed him such insight on the off chance he should ever meet them, the scientists had passed the remains to the kitchens where the finest chefs the planet could offer had conducted their own experiments.
He was not worried as the Reptilian creatures moved in. They were brutish and lacked intelligence, marking them as the best bodyguards that Maxell had been able to find. As the rushed forward and gripped him firmly he spared a thought for the ornate crafting on their spears.
“Be gone,” he said, knowing that the combination of his tone and the glowing contacts he wore would give the correct impression. The occupants watched as the soldiers dissolved into the floor of the pyramid, their attention drawn to where his head should be and missing the small quantity of Ascetic Acid he poured over the floor. “You would be advised not to try that again Maxell,” he announced, using as much of his telepathic abilities as he could manage without complete eye contact with his victim. He covered the activity, not willing to give away that ability whether successful or not. “You are a fine administrator, but little more.”
“Who are you?” Zedd asked, his tone curious after the display of what he had assumed to be magic.
In fact the Master like the other members of his race did not possess magic. It was not that they had evolved on a world where magic was limited as was the case with Earth. Long ago there had been a war of ideology between those who believed in magic and those who denied its existence. Who had triumphed was unclear since history had been twisted and manipulated to the point where the magical faction had been wiped out. Now as a race science was sacred, psychic abilities were praised and magic was illegal.
“Yes,” Master Vile agreed. “Maxell is a fool, but he is right; you are trespassing.”
“Trespassing?” He allowed his acting skills to come to the surface along with the fine baritone he had once used to pass himself off as a singer. When he spoke, he imagined that he sounded outraged at any suggestion of wrongdoing on his part. “You accuse ME of trespassing? This is my world, a part of my empire; it is not I who trespass, it is you!”
“Us, hah!” Rita responded. “This planet is neutral territory. Nobody owns Onyx.”
She had a point. Historical studies of Onyx had revealed that Onyx had never taken sides in the normal infighting. Like several other worlds in the sector it catered for anyone who had the money, the skill and the luck to stay alive.
“Onyx is mine, Rita Repulsa; it was mine the day I first set foot here long before your grandfather was conceived.” The voice was calm, but there was a hint of annoyance that had been caused through Rita’s tone. “I am the Master and I rule here.”
It was true, he had gone back to the days before Onyx had been colonised and had claimed the planet.
“Impossible,” Maxell interrupted.
The Master remained silent, allowing those present to draw their own conclusions and to make the first move for him.
“You – you think that you are that Master?” Maxell asked incredulously.
The Master didn’t need his telepathic abilities to sense what was going through Maxell’s mind. The bureaucrat was convinced that he was a lunatic, powerful but insane to walk into the headquarters of the UAE without their authority and then pretending to be a legend. That suited the Master just fine because it distracted anyone from accusing him of being a total fraud. Deep inside Maxell there seemed to be a faint trace of humanity. It was pathetic really.
“I don’t think I am the Master,” he answered calmly, building up to the angry statement that followed. “I am the Master and you WILL obey me!” As he spoke, he laced his words with a small burst of hypnosis. The effect was disappointing though as the villains burst out laughing. He sighed realising that his mind control might not work on their races, whatever they were; he was certain that the magic these creatures wielded so effectively altered their physical appearances and possibly their genetic structures. He reached out, grabbing Maxell around the neck and waited as the laughter stopped. “Do you doubt me?”
Maxell seemed incapable of deciding as the hand gradually tightened around his throat. The Master understood the poor man’s dilemma; proclaiming that he was right would give the Master all the authority he needed, but at the same time Maxell would never insult somebody who had the ability and inclination to crush his trachea at any second – like all of his race, the Master was exceptionally strong.
~Come on you fool, I need you alive,~ the Master thought as he ran through all the alterations he had allowed for in his plan. ~There is no way this plan will succeed if I kill you. It would split this council if I did.~ This was one of the reasons he hated democracy even amongst those who sought to take freedom away from everyone else.
“I’m only asking for a little recognition,” he told Maxell as he raised his arm, relying on the denser than average muscle structure to make the feat look easy. Maxell’s feet left the ground and the strain on his neck increased.
“You could not have conquered this world when you claim,” Prince Gasket told him. “It is illogical for an organic to live that long.”
The Master smiled under his disguise. The machine did have an interesting point and the Master had to agree with him. Except on this occasion it was the absolute truth.
“Perhaps he is speaking the truth,” Master Vile pondered.
The Master was grateful for the senior villain’s words. They placed doubts in the minds of those who would accuse him and perhaps a warning that if Master Vile was unwilling to challenge him, how could they?
“This is madness,” Maxell said; the Master had placed him back on the ground, knowing that the bureaucrat’s words could only sound more pathetic with each protest. In the end he had to concede. “Fine, your claim is legitimate. What do you want?”
In some ways the Master had to admire that while he was a coward, Maxell was a skilled politician.
“I want what is mine,” he answered. “My domain, these galaxies that your pitiful membership have divided amongst themselves, are mine, claimed from the time they first formed. And since they are mine alone to rule and this body has decided to interfere, I will have to take command of this council.”
And there it was, his reason for being there: complete control of the Executive Council and through it the entire UAE. While control of the organisation was not a part of his plan, it would remove the possibility of their interference. Of course he had not reckoned on the stubborn pride of the assembled villains.
“Outrageous!” Mondo protested. “The Royal House of Gadgetry would never obey the whims of an organic.”
“And I will never associate myself with a failure like you,” Master Vile sniffed. “My daughter and son-in-law are bad enough.”
The responses were not unexpected. Mondo’s programming allowed him to emulate many human emotions, including pride. Master Vile had too much to lose should he just submit. The Master decided diplomacy was the best course of action.
“Really? I believe that it has long been agreed that he who holds the Earth, commands this council.”
“Only when you have permission to attack Earth in the first place,” Rita snapped. She was very defensive where her claim to Earth was involved.
“I don’t need permission Rita Repulsa. I arranged the invasion of Earth decades before you reappeared from your little dustbin. Still, I do not intend to stage my own campaign for the Earth, I will place my stake behind Minion. He has proven a capable warrior so far; I have no doubt he will succeed. And then, the Earth and this council will be mine.” He wondered how the words would be translated for his audience and then shrugged. He doubted a machine could come up with anything better.
“You plan to put your faith in a mutated throwaway that you did not create?” Maxell asked, disbelievingly. “If he fails, you’ll be exposed as a fake. Then your life will be forfeit.”
“I have absolute confidence in Minion even though I do not control him,” he answered. “I will ensure he does not fail.”
“You haven’t even met him,” Rita screeched, the surprise evident in her voice.
“I have a reliable source,” he replied. He had observed Minion and although he did not know how the battle with the Rangers would turn out, it seemed the construct had the upper hand.
“We accept,” Maxell announced after some thought.
The Master studied the politician, once again guessing his motives. Maxell didn’t want to lose power and no doubt hated the thought that his control rested on something as precarious as a bet.
~Still,~ the Master mused, ~better that than trying to face death.~ He snorted in amusement. That sort of confrontation would be a long time coming.
It also didn’t escape him that Maxell was under the impression that he held the upper hand. If Minion failed, he would be destroyed; if by some miracle the construct succeeded where so many experienced villains had succeeded, the UAE would have time to secure their position. No doubt Maxell believed that no matter how powerful he claimed to be, he would fall if there was sufficient power behind the blow. Unfortunately for Maxell, the Master had other ideas.
“Minion will control the Earth within two Earth lunar cycles,” the Master cautioned. “Be ready to hand power over to me at that time.”
Whether Minion had control by that time was irrelevant. The Master had brought himself time and when the Minion issue was finally settled, he would be long gone.
He activated the hand-held device that took him directly to his vessel, immediately dropping the disguise and returned his ship to a less volatile location. Stage one was complete; the next part would be fun.
Minion’s Island, Gulf of Mexico,
The device had been activated at the press of the first button and Minion had been shunted into an illusionary world ever since. There inside his own mind he would receive the punishment that Dagsyxx deemed necessary without draining the ancient being of its power. And although in reality his body was being unceremoniously dumped on a workbench, in his mind events were taking shape in a different way.
Minion had expected his consciousness to be snatched from the present and transported to Dagsyxx’s dimension. So he was caught off guard when his assailant opened his arms and threw his head back, his eyes rolling back as he acted as a channel for the ancient evil. As his head returned to its normal position, Minion knew that there would be pain, but that realisation did not help.
“So we meet again Minion,” the voice of Dagsyxx rumbled, challenging the thunder with its volume. More disturbing for Minion was that the vessel’s lips did not move when the ancient evil spoke. “It would seem that my earlier lesson failed to redeem you; you are still a worthless traitor. And now on top that you have committed a truly unforgivable crime: failure.”
A black circle appeared around Minion with a second outer circle forming seconds later. Then dividing lines and symbols appeared to form a magical seal. The seal started to rotate, bombarding Minion with red energy as it did so.
“Prepare yourself Minion to return to the Dark Dimension. There you will suffer for your crimes. You could have been great Minion; I would have made you a lackey under the command of my chosen. It is a shame that your ambition exceeded your ability.”
“N-n-no, oh magnificent one please, Minion can still be of service,” the construct managed to beg. “Give Minion another chance.”
There was a long oppressive silence as Dagsyxx gave the impression that he was considering Minion’s pitiful cries. During that period Minion continued to be bombarded by the destructive energy. His pleas grew louder and more genuine as his suffering was prolonged.
“Your usefulness is as questionable as your loyalty,” Dagsyxx declared.
“I am useful,” Minion growled, his ego unable to take such a rejection.
Then there was pain, more pain than Minion had ever felt. He couldn’t bear the burning that flowed up the length of his arm or the strange sensation as his legs started to melt.
“So you do have some fight in you,” Dagsyxx said as he watched Minion’s skin bubbling. He regarded Minion thoughtfully, considering how he would torture the impertinent construct further.
“P-p-please,” Minion tried again.
“Enough!” Dagsyxx said when it was clear that Minion could not take further pain. Dagsyxx used his vessel to make a gesture and the punishment seal was removed; a touch from the gloved hand was sufficient to heal the construct’s physical wounds. Dagsyxx did nothing to end the mental suffering though knowing that Minion was close to losing his sanity. Another gesture was all it took to lift Minion from the diamond cut metal platform, and the ancient evil was pleased to see the slightly dazed look on the construct’s face. Now came the important phase.
The device he had planted on Minion’s forehead started to beep, signalling that the process was complete and that Dagsyxx had delivered his message, aided by the electronic stimulation of the frontal lobe. Now it was his turn to complete his part in the master plan by manipulating Minion’s confused mind and then turning the enraged construct loose on the Power Rangers.
“You have survived worse than this Minion,” he said, using a microphone to feed his words into the confused monster’s mind. “You can overcome the pain the Rangers have caused you; you will make them pay for the suffering they inflicted upon you; every burn, cut or bruise on your body exists because of the Power Rangers. They are your sworn enemy Minion; nothing else matters now accept their destruction. Finish them… make them suffer just as you suffer and show them no mercy. When the Rangers are destroyed, your suffering will end.”
As he finished talking, he pressed a button and removed the headpiece. The device had just fused Minion’s pain receptors, causing the construct unbearable and almost never ending pain. Only anger could suppress the crippling agony and with the suggestion that the Rangers were responsible for everything he was feeling, Minion was bound to hunt them down.
“Hold him,” the bearded manipulator ordered his assistant, an apelike creature. Good staff was hard to find, but the creature’s brute strength and simple obedience made up for its lack of intelligence.
The simple creature did as it was told, pinning Minion’s shoulders, using both its superior strength and impressive body weight to hold the construct in place.
With speed and accuracy, he took the opportunity to position receptive cells on Minion’s body, knowing that the construct would be too preoccupied to worry about as they focussed and transmitted energy to another destination.
“Now, this must look convincing,” he warned, receiving a grunt in reply. “Let him up and stand behind me.”
The apeman obeyed, leaving Minion to awaken and face his attacker.
“Welcome back Minion, I am your master and you will obey my commands,” he announced. As expected Minion’s eyes flashed angrily as the Master managed to introduce himself and infuriate the construct at the same time. “We have many things to accomplish Minion, first the October Guard is to be obliterated.”
“No,” was the construct’s reply. It seemed to lack any hostility towards the Master. “I do n-not care what you want, only the Rangers matter.”
“You will do as I tell you,” the Master insisted, his eyes taking on a new intensity. “I am your master and you will obey me!”
“I do not care,” Minion answered forcefully and for the first time the Master realised the construct was not referring to itself as Minion. He intensified his glare, forcing all of his telepathic will upon the construct. Minion’s mind had been fractured to the point though where he was immune to even the most practiced mind controller. A blast of energy left his hand, causing the Master to take a step back.
“You will regret that Minion,” he warned, holding up a small cylinder.
Minion stared back defiantly, summoning a ball of energy that he threw in his tormentor’s direction. The Master remained in place although his companion did not. The apeman threw himself into the path of the energy ball and allowed it to bounce off his padded chest. It growled angrily and rushed forward, swinging its powerful forearms in a way that could have decapitated Minion had the Master not ordered it to stop.
“Not as much as you will regret it,” Minion warned, looking pointedly at the Master. He looked between the calm man with the greying beard, a picture of serenity and the large simian that was baring its teeth and trying to look threatening. He knew he could have destroyed them both easily. “You are lucky I have better things to do,” he said finally.
“You need me,” the Master pointed out, his voice going higher than normal. “You don’t have the Sword of Darkness anymore and you have delayed using the Zeo Crystal for so long your body will no longer take the strain of doing so. Your powers are negligible and the Rangers can defeat you.”
“I still have my WD Units, Silvo, Brasso and Bronzo,” Minion pointed out.
“You have soldiers made from living metal that the Rangers will eventually learn to overcome and three henchmen who have seen better days,” the Master corrected. He would not allow Minion to delude himself, too much was resting on Minion reacting as the Master expected him to. It was a dangerous game he was playing, but if it worked then the rewards would be great. “I can give you whatever you need Minion, I know where there is a weapon that can replace your missing sword. All you have to do is obey me.”
“No.” This time Minion did not allow the Master’s companion to discourage him as he crossed the gap between them. A sharp blow to the creature’s knee and a punch to its subhuman face put it out of commission while his hands seized the Master around the throat. “Tell me,” he hissed.
“I-I may have been a little hasty in my demands,” the Master admitted, holding up his hands in a submissive manner. “I am prepared to negotiate.”
“No negotiation,” Minion answered, tightening his hands. “Tell me!”
The Master eventually agreed, nodding his head to show his accepted, his eyes fixed on the floor to give the impression that he was defeated. He pulled out an old manuscript and directed Minion’s attention to the picture.
“What is it?” Minion asked.
The Master resisted the urge to give him a sarcastic answer, reminding himself that the device had practically scrambled the construct’s mind. “It is called the Sword of Ragnarok,” he explained patiently and with as much authority as he could muster. “It’s an energy adapting weapon capable of destroying the Power Rangers and any others who stand in your way. The longer you wield the blade the more powerful it becomes, especially if you have a suitable power source.”
There, he had his interest; he could see the change in the construct’s features. The uncontrolled aggression was mixed with curiosity.
“You know of such a source?”
“I know everything Minion,” the Master answered. He had researched the sword capabilities to ensure it would serve his purposes. He didn’t mention how destructive the sword could be to either the surrounding area or the unfortunate wielder.
“I want it,” Minion said.
The Master smiled indulgently. He had known that in his current state of mind Minion would jump at the chance to possess such a weapon.
“Then you shall have it,” he promised. “The sword was placed within the the Vaults of Imphos on the planet Pyxis. I can give you the means to get there, if you accept my aid.”
His aid and by implication a debt that the Master could claim at any time. Had he been capable of thinking clearly Minion would have turned down the offer, recognising that the Master had more to gain from the deal than he did.
“Very well, but double-cross me and you will pay,” Minion warned.
The Master smiled as he placed a device in Minion’s hand. If he had wanted the construct dead, he would never have helped him in the first place. He didn’t need Minion dead, he needed him to succeed. Then he could deal with him.
“Good luck Minion,” he called cheerfully as the other villain vanished.
End of Part
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